A recent report from The Sydney Morning Herald highlights that Chegg.com, a study assistance website connected with numerous contract cheating allegations, is now trying to work with Australian influencers to market its services on TikTok.
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- The University of NSW links three out of four contract cheating instances in 2021 to Chegg.com.
- Chegg collaborates with popular Australian TikTok influencers to promote its Study Pack.
- Universities express concerns over Chegg’s “expert Q&A” feature, which may facilitate cheating.
Highly-followed Australian TikTok influencers such as Fonzie Gomez, Jamie Zhu, and Dr Sarah Rav have made promotional posts for Chegg’s Study Pack. While these influencers advertise the website as a study aid, there’s no explicit warning that students might face penalties for cheating. Importantly, The Herald does not insinuate that these influencers knew about the cheating allegations tied to Chegg.
“The videos promote Chegg as a study help website, but don’t warn students they could be penalised for cheating for using some of the functions.”
What Universities Are Saying
Chegg provides a range of tools for students, including practice exams and textbook rentals. However, universities are mainly worried about the site’s “expert Q&A” feature that lets students snap photos of homework queries to receive answers within half an hour. Professor Phillip Dawson from Deakin University mentioned that while Chegg can’t be directly labelled as a cheating platform, it’s undeniable that numerous students misuse it.
In their attempt to tackle the issue, the University of Sydney devised a bot to detect assessment questions posted on Chegg. However, the challenge became more significant when Chegg ceased providing IP access data in late 2022.
“I think there is a danger in marketing themselves as a legitimate support service that students think using them is OK,”said Professor Dawson
Higher Authorities Weigh In
TEQSA (Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency) has reached out to universities expressing its concerns about Chegg’s functions that may be used to get solutions for assessment tasks. While they are yet to decide if Chegg breaches Australia’s anti-cheating laws, they’ve already blocked 150 other websites providing contract cheating services.
“The scale of the use of Chegg is much greater than the scale of other sites,”Professor Dawson emphasized.
Chegg’s Stand on the Matter
Chegg, in its defense, stresses the importance of academic integrity and states its commitment towards it. They’ve mentioned the launch of “Honor Shield” in Australia, a free tool enabling professors to pre-submit questions, thus hiding them on the Chegg platform for a certain time.
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